The Teckman Mystery is a 1954 British crime mystery, directed by Wendy Toye and starring Margaret Leighton, John Justin, Roland Culver and Michael Medwin.
Philip Chance is commissioned by his publisher to write the biography of Martin Teckman, a young airman who crashed and died whilst testing a new plane. But from the moment he arrives home, Philip Chance is beset by a series of 'accidents' which indicate strongly that there are people who do not want to see Teckman's past investigated.
Born in London on 1 May 1917, Wendy Toye made her stage debut at the age of three when she appeared at the Royal Albert Hall as a member of a juvenile dance troupe. Her solo turn as part of the act brought her considerable publicity, and Toye began to perform in music halls and charity shows with many of the day's top stage stars. By the age of nine, she appeared at the Palladium in a ballet she had choreographed herself, entitled The Japanese Legend of the Rainbow. Toye was soon in much demand as a choreographer and was invited to perform with Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, where she met the film-maker/artist Jean Cocteau.
In 1931, she made her first film appearance, appearing in Anthony Asquith's Dance Pretty Lady, but was more interested in the technical process of filmmaking than in acting. By 1942 she was arranging the dances for The Young Mr Pitt (where she was befriended by director Carol Reed, editor David Lean, cameraman Ronald Neame and actors Robert Morley and Richard Attenborough) and in 1946, she served as choreographer on Herbert Wilcox and Anna Neagle's Piccadilly Incident.
During this period, Wendy's talents as a stage director meant she was in increasingly high demand. On meeting the British producer George K. Arthur, Toye expressed interest in directing a short, The Stranger Left No Card (1953), for him. Made on a budget of £3,000, the film was a delightfully sinister parable which won the best short film award at The Cannes Film Festival and impressed Alexander Korda sufficiently for him to offer Toye a contract.
Toye directed the In the Picture episode of Three Cases of Murder (co-d. David Eady, George More O'Ferrall, 1953), The Teckman Mystery (1954) and the domestic comedy, Raising A Riot (1955) for Korda until his sudden death in 1956 saw her contract shifted to Rank. There, she made All for Mary (1955) and the nautical comedy True as a Turtle (1957). Both films did well at the box office, but Toye had to wait until 1962 for her next film assignment, We Joined The Navy; another seagoing comedy.
Toye's last theatrical film was a short entitled The King's Breakfast (1963), after which she turned to directing television drama, as well as continuing to be celebrated for her extensive work in the theatre. Although Wendy Toye complained that Rank refused to support her desire to direct projects more ambitious than her comedies, she took pride in the fact that she never went over budget, and that her responsible example paved the way for other women to enter the field. She continued directing stage comedies until the mid 1990s, when she retired, with a lifetime of work in the theatre and film to her considerable credit.
The Teckman Mystery, released on DVD and Blu-ray 21st November 2022 by StudioCanal as part of their Vintage Classics collection.
- The Extraordinary Career of Wendy Toye Pt 1 feat. interviews with Jo Botting & Pamela Hutchinson
Please note - Disc special features are subject to change, may differ from format to format and/or may differ from region to region.